California School Boards Association

2023 Year in Review


The famous orator Charles Spurgeon stated, “The right way usually lies between two extremes: it is the narrow channel between the rock and the whirlpool.” For CSBA, the way forward is one centered on advocacy, research and policy that supports all members and secures the resources needed to sustain and enhance public schools. Our list of 2023 accomplishments demonstrates the rewards of a single-minded focus on the conditions required for universal success and a refusal to be drawn off course by ideological currents.

Charting a middle path is not easy in a state boasting nearly 1,000 school districts and county offices of education (COEs). The beauty and the challenge of public education in this state is that our strategies must encompass the ambitions of local educational agencies large and small, affluent and low income, urban, suburban, rural and everything between. Yet, despite California’s great size and diversity, every single school district and COE will benefit from CSBA’s legislative and legal advocacy, policy and governance technology services, research, communications, events, trainings and more.

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“The right way usually lies between two extremes: it is the narrow channel between the rock and the whirlpool.”

—Charles Spurgeon

To ensure that CSBA continues to refine and enhance our comprehensive support and service offerings, we developed CSBA’s 2023 Strategic Priorities Implementation Plan, with clearly defined goals, strategies and impact measures that will allow us to fully implement the Board of Directors’ priorities. At the same time, we continued to explore initiatives that expand the options available to CSBA members as you work to address critical issues like staffing shortages. This past year, CSBA secured $1.7 million in new grant funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to expand CSBA’s pilot workforce housing project and support LEAs in developing workforce housing on existing property. The grant will fund workshops for districts exploring education workforce housing, allow CSBA to expand a first-of-its-kind resource library for LEA housing development, and conduct new research into the role of county offices and the impact of LEA-built housing on staff retention and student outcomes.

As legislators and policymakers struggle to solve statewide issues like the housing and staffing crises, empowering school and county boards to address problems on a local level is crucial to the continued progress of our public schools. We work tirelessly to protect the autonomy of local school districts and COEs, because we recognize the essential role that governing boards play in public education. And now, more than ever, it’s important that we embrace this principle.

School boards are a cornerstone of democracy and more important now than ever. For that reason, it’s essential that we avoid partisan passions and instead focus on productive policies that support all students. Given the many challenges our education system faces, we must join in common cause to improve our schools and uplift the important work of school district and county board members. The idea that schools are stronger together drives all our work at CSBA. Our members have wide-ranging views on issues related to public schools, so we will never be a liberal or conservative organization, but rather, we will continue to be an organization that focuses on the best interests of students and our members.

In 2023, I, along with CSBA President Susan Markarian and my senior staff, ventured up and down California from Mt. Shasta to San Diego as part of our member engagement tour called the CSBA Roadshow. We appreciated the chance to connect with trustees and superintendents on your home turf and to hear firsthand about your vision for public education, the challenges you face, the opportunities you see and how CSBA can support you in strengthening public schools and supporting students.    

Our travels have provided ample reassurance that, regardless of background or zip code, what school district and county trustees have in common is much greater than what divides you. This is a truth to keep front of mind as you carry out your governance and policy duties. It was certainly a touchstone for CSBA as we advocated on your behalf in Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and in courts all across the state.

I want to thank all of you that welcomed us into your communities in 2023 and engaged us in thoughtful conversations that will improve CSBA as we help you excel in your endeavors. For those we didn’t meet in person, trust that we are working just as hard on your behalf. Whether it is through governance trainings, research, or legislative and legal advocacy, CSBA is working to meet your needs and ensure the board of education perspective is represented in the Legislature, in every important policy conversation and in courtrooms across California.

CSBA membership at a glance

966 Local educational agencies
4,786 Elected trustees
97% of all California public preK-12 school districts and county offices of education
99.9% of all California public school students represented

CSBA 2023 Leadership

Executive Committee

Susan Markarian
Susan MarkarianCSBA President
Pacific Union ESD
Albert Gonzalez
Albert GonzalezCSBA President-elect
Santa Clara USD
Bettye Lusk
Bettye LuskCSBA Vice President
Monterey Peninsula USD
Dr. Susan Heredia
Dr. Susan HerediaCSBA Immediate Past President
Natomas USD

Board of Directors

Frank Magarino, Region 1
Del Norte County USD

Sherry Crawford, Region 2
Siskiyou COE

David Gracia, Region 3
Napa Valley USD

Renee Nash, Region 4
Eureka Union SD

Alisa MacAvoy, Region 5
Redwood City ESD

Jackie Wong, Region 6
Washington USD

James Aguilar, Region 7
San Leandro USD

Christopher “Kit” Oase, Region 8
Ripon USD

Roger Snyder, Region 9
Scotts Valley USD

Kathy Spate, Region 10
Caruthers USD

Sabrena Rodriguez, Region 11
Ventura USD

William Farris, Region 12
Sierra Sands USD

Susan Henry, Region 15
Huntington Beach Union HSD

Karen Gray, Region 16
Silver Valley USD

Debra Schade, Region 17
Solano Beach SD

Bruce Dennis, Region 18
Riverside COE

Devon Conley, Region 20
Mountain View Whisman SD

Tanya Ortiz Franklin, Region 21
Los Angeles USD

Nancy Smith, Region 22
Palmdale SD

Helen Hall, Region 23
Walnut Valley USD

Jan Baird, Region 24
South Whittier ESD

Chris Clark
Director-at-Large, African American
Folsom-Cordova USD

Christina Cameron-Otero
Director-at-Large, American Indian
Needles USD

Sylvia Leong
Director-at-Large, Asian/Pacific Islander
Cupertino Union SD

Michael Teasdale
Director-at-Large, County
Ventura COE

Joaquín Rivera
Director-at-Large, Hispanic
Alameda COE

Gina Cuclis, CCBE President
Sonoma COE

2023 Year in Review

CSBA Financial Data

CSBA Revenues 2022-23

CSBA Expenses 2022-23